Tennis-"Don't bother coming", Dokic tells father

MELBOURNE Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:14pm GMT

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MELBOURNE Jan 25 (Reuters) - Jelena Dokic has ruled out any chance of a reconciliation with her estranged father Damir after reports that he wanted to mend their broken relationship.

Jelena warned her father not to bother contacting her after he told an Australian television network he was considering coming to Melbourne after watching her inspiring run at the Australian Open.

"I believe that if it's possible to do it at such short notice that I would come, because I loved Australia," Damir Dokic said through a translator.

Jelena told reporters after her 7-5 5-7 8-6 win over Russian Alisa Kleybanova on Sunday that her father was not welcome.

"I haven't had any contact. It's the first I heard about it," she said. "It's his decision (but) I've said always my whole story with him is finished."

Jelena's troubles with her father began when she was starting out on her professional career.

A prodigious talent, she made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the 2000 Sydney Olympics when she was 17 but her career was already being overshadowed by her father's behaviour and run-ins with officialdom.

In 1999, Damir was cautioned for drunk and disorderly behaviour at the Edgbaston tournament in England after being ejected from the stands for shouting during his daughter's match and then lying down in front of traffic in a road outside.

The following year, he scuffled with a television cameraman at the Australian Open then a few months later he was evicted from Wimbledon, draped in an English flag, for causing disturbances and breaking a journalist's mobile phone.

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He was kicked out of the U.S. Open that same year after abusing staff over the price of a plate of salmon and was subsequently banned from attending tournaments for six months by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

A former Belgrade truck driver who moved his family from Yugoslavia to Australia in 1994, Damir turned his back on his adopted country and returned to Serbia in 2001 after alleging that the Australian Open draw was rigged.

Jelena followed her father and switched nationalities, representing Serbia and Montenegro, before she finally had enough, splitting from her family in 2003 and returning to Australia a year later.

Jelena has poured out her heart to the Australian public this week, apologising for her own tempestuous behaviour and pleading for understanding.

Her candid revelation that she suffered from depression has endeared her to the Australian public but she remains wary about her father.

"It would have to be an unbelievable miracle for him to change. I don't see that happening," she said.

"I have my tennis and I have my life. I want to do it that way.

"Knowing him, I just don't see any possibilities. We are really different and really disagree on pretty much everything."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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